Written by Tanya Pedersen
Aug 14, 2011 at 08:00 PM
It was a pleasantly cool evening for the GooGoo Dolls show at Cynthia Woods. A rare late afternoon storm brought a nice breeze and had me in a great mood to see a show. I didn’t even know that I was going to get a surprise treat- a young, fresh opening band called Parachute.

Led by Will Anderson, Parachute looked like they just walked off a college campus “Battle of the Bands”, in which they would have no doubtably won. I love watching a group of up-and-comers, and you could see the hunger in all their eyes. Their songs are catchy, their talent is undeniable, and their smiles are infectious! “She is Love” has gotten lots of airplay, and I bet we hear more about these guys real soon.

I’ve been a fan of Michelle Branch since her ’03 album, Hotel Paper, came out. She is a unique talent whose musical talent is a mix of pop, rock, folk and country. She writes songs that often cross genres and receive airplay on both rock and country radio stations. Seeing her live was no disappointment. The show consisted of Michelle, her bassist (and husband) Teddy Landau, and guitarist Nick Maybury. With her casual conversation to the crowd, Michelle and her boys gave the show a very intimate feel. She even introduced Teddy as her “Baby Daddy”. She would tell stories in between songs, and took a moment to talk about the tragedy that had just happened at the Indiannapolis fair right before the Sugarland concert. When she sings, it’s effortless. The songs practically fall out of her mouth, and she can go from a rocking song to a ballad with ease. She sang all her hits, including “Happy Now”, and “Take the Pieces”, from when she was one half of The Wreckers. One of my favorite moments was when she sang a pretty lullaby that she wrote for her child, “Crazy Life”. I’m definitely looking forward to the new album!

The Goo Goo Dolls’ repertoire is a notable one. These guys have been around for awhile now (since ’86), and they know how to play the concert game. The light show was impressive. The musicality was top-notch. Led by aviator-wearing Johnny Reznik, the band came out with their personalities on high. Reznik was all business- he came to sing and play guitar. Mike Malanin was a typical drummer- all into his beating and banging, putting on a show. Brad Fernquist was on rhythm guitar, and he exuded the “Yeah, I’m a badass guitar player” coolness. Korel Tunador, on keys and rhythm guitar, seemed to be right where he wanted to be, and kept a “kid in a candy store” look all night. Rounding out the group on bass and vocals was Aderol Kid himself, Robby Takac. Watching him is exhausting!    The guys have a string of popular songs, and they pretty much played them all. Reznik shared the lead mic with Takac. I wasn’t expecting this, but he did sound good. After digging, I found out that Takac was actually their original front-man. Reznik suffered from extreme stage fright, and didn’t become the “official” lead vocalist until the band’s third album. Reznik started the show, and after 5 songs, hands the mic over to Takac for Lucky Star and January. They bounced back and forth several times throughout the night.

Highlights of the night were, of course, “Slide”, “Better Days”, “Broken”, “Iris”, and “Broadway”. But I think my personal favorite of the night was “Name”. The set list was practically the same as their Greatest Hits compilation, and the crowd seemed to love them for it.

Goo Goo Dolls had big lights, and big sound. It was a complete 180 from Michelle Branch’s low-key show, but I think the change in energy levels and visual stimulation made the night all the better. It was a good melding of artists and a very pleasant evening at Cynthia Woods.